Whether you’re new to veganism or just curious about where vegans get calcium from without dairy products, you’ve come to the right place. Learn everything you need to know about calcium, what it is, and how to get calcium as a vegan.
What is Calcium?
Calcium is an essential mineral that our body needs to keep our bones strong and healthy. The main and most renowned source of calcium is milk, in addition to many other dairy products.
However, for those following a plant-based or vegan diet, dairy is off the cards. That’s why vegans may need to find an alternative source of calcium to support the maintenance of good bone health.
Why Do We Need Calcium?
Calcium is crucial for the maintenance of normal, healthy bones. As we age, it’s important to continue supporting bone health in order to stay strong and active. You can provide your body with the calcium it needs from a healthy, balanced diet, but you may wish to use vegan calcium supplements to boost your intake of this essential mineral.
How Much Calcium Do We Need?
The NHS suggests that adults need 700mg of calcium per day, which can be attained from a healthy, balanced diet.
For children and adolescents under 19, the amount of calcium needed per day will vary depending on age. See the chart below for the recommended daily amount of calcium from the British Dietetic Association:
|Infants (under 1)||525mg|
|Children (Aged 1-3)||350mg|
|Children (Aged 4-6)||450mg|
|Children (Aged 7-10)||550mg|
Calcium Deficiency in Vegans
Those following a plant-based diet may find that their calcium levels are low due to consuming fewer dairy products. Calcium deficiency can lead to weaker bones that can be more susceptible to fractures. It can also lead to the development of osteoporosis later in life.
There are plenty of vegan calcium sources that you can add to your plant-based diet, from fortified plant-based milks to dried fruit. Read on to discover where vegans can get calcium from.
Vegan Sources of Calcium
It is still possible for vegans to get calcium through a plant-based diet without consuming dairy products. Check out the list of foods below that are great vegan sources of calcium.
1. Fortified plant-based milk
Check the labelling on plant-based milk cartons for added calcium. Soya milk, rice milk, almond milk, and oat milk are often fortified with calcium and will provide your body with a boost of this essential mineral.
2. Plant-based yoghurts
With the increase in demand for plant-based foods, you’ll find plenty of dairy-free yoghurts readily available that have been fortified with calcium. Again, check the label to see if there’s added calcium in your chosen coconut or soya yoghurt.
3. Green, leafy vegetables
Kale, spinach, okra, pak choi, and broccoli are just a few green veggies that you can consume to boost your calcium intake and are a fantastic vegan source of calcium.
4. Dried fruit
Dried fruit, such as raisins, figs and prunes, will provide your body with a convenient boost in calcium. It’s also found in fresh fruits, such as kiwi, blackberries, and tangerines.
5. Pulses and Beans
They may be small, but pulses and beans pack a punch with the abundance of health benefits they can provide. Soya beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, and lentils are a fantastic vegan calcium source – no wonder they are known as superfoods!
You may be surprised to hear that bread is a great vegan source of calcium. The flour used to produce bread is often fortified with calcium, making this plant-based carb the perfect addition to your vegan diet.
7. Vitamin D
We know this isn’t a typical source of calcium, but the ‘sunshine vitamin’ plays an essential role in how much calcium we absorb. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphate in our bones, helping to keep them strong and healthy.
It can be harder for us to get enough vitamin D during winter, so you may wish to incorporate supplements into your routine to boost your vitamin D levels. Check out our range of vegan vitamin D supplements below: